The Carvajal Group Blog

Projected Economic Impact of SXSW 2011 on Austin

March 28th, 2011

The SXSW interactive, music, and film festival became a whole new animal this year.  The interactive and music portions in particular had record attendance.  Estimates are that 200,000 people attended the festival this year, 40% more than last year!  While exact economic statistics have not been released for 2011, the financial impact on the Austin economy will likely be a record as well.   The most recent statistics available were for the 2008 festival which brought in $103 million and the festival has grown significantly since then.

During the interactive portion, I ran into some of the attendees from as far away as Sweden.  These particular patrons were representatives of the advertising industry and said that SXSWi has become the largest conference in the world for advertising.   That’s pretty amazing considering the interactive portion has only been around since 1994.  Given the larger turnouts for the interactive and film portions in addition to surge in music festival goers, I would not be surprised if this year’s festival didn’t inject $200 million or more into the Austin economy.  We will have to wait for the official calculations, however

Everyone I interacted with was very complimentary about the City of Austin from the climate, to the friendliness and hospitality of people, to just the vibe in general.  Essentially, the festival brings in 100,000 people from all over the world, almost all of which have a great time become raving fans not only about the festival, but the City of Austin as well.  It’s impossible to measure the economic impact this word of mouth advertising.  Without a doubt, it will further precipitate Austin’s reputation as vibrant, thriving city and a desirable place to live, particularly for young people.  This article from the Austin American-Stateman describes one such instance of someone moving here after falling in love with the City after attending SXSW.  It also touches on the humble beginnings of the festival 25 years ago and the symbiotic relationship between the city and the festival.

For more information about SXSW 2011 or it’s impact on the Austin Real Estate market, contact us today at (512) 419-7770

UPDATE(8/23/11):  Well I was  little high with my guesstimate of $200 million, but according to a report released today, SXSW 2011 pumped $167 million into Austin’s Economy. This was 47% increase over 2010′s $110 million.  Read the full Statesman article here.




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